Religious fundamentalists are motivated by the sneaking suspicion that someone, somewhere, is having fun -- and that this must be stopped.
Sunday, December 31, 2006
My cats love me!
I just got in a couple of hours ago, and the kitties just won't leave me alone. It's not because of food. They still had plenty of food. They just missed me, I guess. Anyhow, they're trying to both cuddle with my hands at the same time as I try to type, so lemme go give them some quality time...
What did Saddam know that required hanging him before his trials were finished? Did he threaten to talk? Is that what caused the Iraqi "government" to hang him so swiftly? Or is it simply that the Iraqi "government" knows that they are going to have a Saigon moment shortly, and hung Saddam in a panic that they might get overthrown before they got a chance to do so?
The latter, I suppose, is possible. But this picture keeps coming to mind...
Teh Donald may no longer be Secretary of Defense, but he wasn't the only former Reagan Administration official involved with Saddam during the 1980's. There's this other guy, for example. Guy by the name of "Dick Cheney". Wonder what dirt Saddam had on the Bigus Dickus? Oops, dead men can't sing like parrots, gosh darn, what a shame!
Bruce Western, author of Punishment and Inequality in America, discusses the fact that 2/3rds of young black male high school dropouts have prison records. Bruce notes the uneasy truth that the prison system has the sort of effect upon the lives of the poor here in America that the welfare state has upon the lives of the poor in Europe. But what Bruce doesn't do is go the next logical step: acknowledge that Prison State America has substituted prison for welfare as the solution for "what do we do about all those jobless young black males?".
Now, the question is, "why do we need to do something as a society about the poor anyhow?" Well, there is a basic problem: human beings will not voluntarily starve to death simply because there is no economic niche for them. Marie Antoinette found that out the hard way... the peasants who had been shoved off of the land by the lords of the manors as less labor-intensive methods of agriculture were developed were not going to voluntarily starve to death simply because there was no place for them in the new economy, and instead offed the heads of Marie Antoinette and all those lords who had said "Let them eat cake" when presented with the problem of a starving peasantry. Given that the poor are not going to voluntarily starve themselves to death, that leaves these alternatives:
Extermination. Killing all of those who no longer have an economic niche in our new economy will eliminate the threat to those of wealth and power. Joseph Stalin and Pol Pot liked this one. But in the long term, it's hard to carry out, because economies are constantly changing and thus there will always be those who lack the skills or ability to compete in whatever the current economy is. Just ask the Shah of Iran just how the end game of this one works out.
Imprisonment. There are two ways to imprison people. The first is to place them in actual physical prisons. The second is to place them into geographic locations from which it is difficult from them to transport themselves to the geographic locations where those of wealth and power live. Thus ghettos, credit check requirements for "better" apartments (i.e., those not in the ghetto) to keep out the "ghetto" people, and "mass transit" systems that, in most of the nation, will not take you anywhere that anybody in the upper income quartile lives. We're doing a lot of this.
Welfare and television. This is the "bread and circuses" option -- feed and entertain the poor to keep them from rampaging and cutting off the heads of those of wealth and means. This is what LBJ and Richard Nixon put into place when the black ghettos exploded in the aftermath of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., they were afraid that the residents of those ghettos were going to go Marie Antoinette their constituency, and thus created a large number of welfare programs. This option is currently out of vogue, because it is not as profitable (for the men of wealth and power) as the imprisonment option, which gives many more opportunities to siphon taxpayer money into the pockets of the rich and powerful.
Put them to work. You have idle men sitting around doing nothing in a threatening manner? Find them some jobs. If they lack the skills to contribute meaningfully to the economy, well, find them jobs doing things that need doing, but currently aren't being done because it'd require raising taxes to do them -- things like, say, cleaning all that f'ing trash out of the medians of our freeways (I swear, so many freeways look like trash dumps nowdays!). Or maintaining trails in parks, building park benches out of stones and mortar, whatever. Just keep'em busy. This was the option that FDR chose in the 1930's. It is currently out of vogue because it does not give profit to the rich and powerful, who would prefer to have government pay them to do this stuff.
Or, there is the 5th option: Do nothing, and find out that in Darwinian Libertopia, those who lack the skills to sustain themselves will not peaceably die -- they will come take what they need to survive. And those of us who do have property will end up dead.
One thing is clear: The prison option is horribly expensive and isn't going to be economically feasible in the long term, especially as the baby boomers retire and a sizeable chunk of the economy gets diverted to welfare for unproductive old farts. We can't both divert a huge portion of the economy to imprisoning poor people, and divert a huge part to sustaining unproductive old farts. Something is going to give. And the old farts will no more allow themselves to be starved to death than the poor will, they may not have the reflexes of young people, but they have something more important than that: an unwarranted sense of entitlement that would allow them to pull the trigger to take what they need to survive without a single moral qualm. There's a reason why old farts are the only unproductive people in America who are supported by a functioning welfare system. It is because old farts value what little remains of their life above all else, and if you get between them and what they need in order to finish out their lives comfortably, you are going to be dead.
The problem is that government as currently comprised in America is utterly incapable of taking any kind of actions. Paralysis is the norm. Excuses are the lingua franca. "It can't be done" is the chant. The days when a President could stand up, say "We will go to the moon by the end of the decade", and then *do* it, are gone. We are no longer "can-do America". We are, instead, "can't-do America". We can't provide health care to all our people because blah blah blah. We can't provide jobs rather than prison to young black men because blah blah blah. We can't do this, we can't do that, we can't do anything, because that would require us to, like, exert ourself or something.
But something is going to break if we don't change the current system. And when the economic collapse happens because so much of the economy has been diverted into prisons and supporting unproductive old farts... well, hopefully I will be rowing my iceberg far to sea by that time. Hey, a penguin can dream, eh?
They selected Alison Bechdel's autobiographical father-daughter graphic novel Fun Home as their #1 Book of the Year.
Bechdel is, of course, as butch as a lesbian can get. (puts on Bill O'Reilly's thinking cap) Why, obvoiusly Time Magazine wants to turn all our fine young girls into butch dikes, at which point they'll stop having babies and the American race will die! Err, of course, "American race" is an oxymoron, as the very name "O'Reilly" should suggest (he's freakin' IRISH, fer cryin' out loud! Not even an Anglo-Saxon!). And as Mary Cheney is proving, being a lesbian doesn't stop you from having babies, it just substitutes a couple of mechanical acts in the process. But hey, what's a few facts between bigots, eh?
I'm not sure which blogger on my blogroll blogged about the book. I thought it was our resident woman artist Idyllopus admiring the artwork, but I just checked out her blog and didn't see it there. Anyhow, whoever mentioned it, when I read their blog article I checked out the first few pages on Amazon.com, then I went out to my local Tractors and Peasants Big Box Bookstore and bought a copy of it (it's under "Biography"). Whether you're straight or gay, it's just plain good, and it's good that some folks outside of the gay ghetto have recognized that. Even if recognizing that good art is good art means they'll be accused of being in the pay of the mighty pastel "Gay Agenda", that rainbow-clad supervillain who goes around zapping fine outstanding preacher men with his Gay Laser of Gayness and, like, wants to destroy America by turning us all gay so we won't reproduce and the cockroachesMexicans will take over the empty ruins! Err, yeah. And pigs fly out of my butt every night too. Whatever.
I will probably be heading out around noon tomorrow, not to return until January 2, exercising my new Jeep in the desert.
I got the oil pan skid plate on last night, BTW. Didn't need a die grinder, just a rubber mallet and a dremmel. There were some messy welds on the inside that I had to grind flat before it would lay flat against the oil pan, and a couple of the bolt holes needed a bit of modification with the dremmel too, but I got it on. I'm not mentioning the maker of this skid plate, but will say that I'm disappointed at their poor quality control. It's a good design (the best design for what their design goals were and for my current needs), but their manufacturing process leaves a lot to be desired.
One thing I'll note is that now I recall why I much prefer working on motorcycles to working on cars. My neck hurts and my ribs hurt (from rolling over onto some tools) and it's just a general pain working on the underbelly of a car without a lift. Tools seem to stray all over the place (I eventually used a white letter tray as a tool tray to keep tools and bolts together in one place), nuts and bolts stray all over the place and are never at hand, and it's just a pain in the neck (literally). With a motorcycle, on the other hand, take the plastic off and the gas tank and seat off and it's all just there.
If you see Bill O'Reilly, wish him a Happy Long Sun for me, okay? I love it when his nose turns red and steam comes out of his ears!
Today is an important day. For you heretics, this is the winter solstice, and in a few days you will be celebrating Christmas or Holiday or Festivus or however else your religion celebrates the winter solstice. But for us Tuxologists, this marks the summer solstice in God's perfect land, Antarctica, and we celebrate the holiday LongSun on this day.
Now, what does celebration of LongSun entail? Well, barbecues and beach parties. You are required, if you are an orthodox Tuxologist, to don flip-flops, Bermuda shorts, and a Hawaiian shirt, repair to your back yard or patio, and barbecue meat over hot coals to serve with potato salad and barbecue beans and bread for your noon meal. After this repass, an orthodox Tuxologist is required to lounge in a lounge chair for the remainder of the afternoon while basking in the sun and sipping pina coladas out of glasses with tiny little hats on toothpicks sticking out of them (or at least a slice of fresh lime). Like this:
Now, obviously this presents some logistical problems for those Tuxologists who live in the Rust Belt. Every year, hospitals in Detroit, Chicago, and Minneapolis are swamped with Tuxologists suffering hypothermia or who became stuck to their barbecue grills while attempting to place meat on the grill while their hands were wet. Not every Tuxologist is wealthy enough to repair to Miami or places further south in order to celebrate LongSun. Thus only Orthodox Tuxology (the Rawists) require the full celebration complete with the ritual vestments of Bermuda shorts and Hawaiian shirt. Kipperists allow LongSun participants to ritually fire up the barbecue grill while wearing the ritual vestments, then once the ceremonial Firing of the Grill is accomplished, repair to the warm interior of their home to cook their food and recline on lounge chairs while sipping pina coladas. And Wholists, those dastardly liberals, don't even require the ceremonial Firing of the Grill, though even that heretical offshoot of Tuxology does not dare do away with the ritual Sipping of the Pina Coladas.
Anyhow, I must go. While it is raining and 45 degrees outside, the ceremonial Firing of the Grill must be accomplished, or I will forever be condemned to Hell (Norway) to be flogged in perepetuity with limp herring. So have a happy LongSun. Or Christmas. Or Holiday. Or whatever. And if you see Bill O'Reilly, stick your tongue out at him for me! (Just not too close to a light pole if you're in the frost belt, okay? That's really embarassing, having the EMT's come out for that!).
It has been brought to my attention that the Pastafarians celebrate the winter solstice with a holiday that they call, simply, Holiday.
So, just to make Bill O'Reilly blow a few more fuses: Happy Holiday! And may His noodly appendage touch your heart. Ramen!
- Badtux the not-Pastafarian Penguin
Note: Penguins celebrate the winter solstice in late June, so Tuxologists don't celebrate this time of year the same way as everybody else... Tuxologists believe in celebrating the December summer solstice with beach parties and barbecues. Tuxologists who live in Detroit or Chicago are encouraged to NOT use their barbecue grill at this time of year, though, after several instances where followers of Tuxology had to be removed from their grills by EMT's after wet hands stuck to the controls...
This deer was spotted on the lawn of Vice President Cheney's 'undisclosed location'. Speculation is rampant. Did the Bigus Dickus manage to club it to death with his big swinging dick? Did he chase it down and strangle it with his bare hands in a rage over Dear Leader firing his buddy Rumsfeld? Or maybe he was aiming for a lawyer and hit a deer instead? Curious penguins want to know!
World Nut Daily reports that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says that Iran's "two big missions are constructing the country and introducing a model for humanity."
Whoa! What a dangerous dude! Why, next thing you know, he could be sayin' that peace on earth and good will toward man are the two most important things around. Do you know what that would do to Carlysle Group and Halliburton profits?! (Shudder).
According to World Nut Daily, Crazy Mahmoud also says "The Zionist regime will be wiped out soon the same way the Soviet Union was, and humanity will achieve freedom."
That is *obviously* a call for the extermination of all the Jews of Israel via force of rams, just as the Soviet Union being wiped out resulted in the extermination of all the Soviets in the Soviet Union via force of arms. Genocide, genocide I say!
Meanwhile, back in Mississippi, there's a town that has a problem. Some of their local landlords are renting to (shudder) NIGGERS! And, get this... some of the local girls are going out on *dates* with these niggers! Local social service agencies say that they're giving counselling to these local girls and trying to get to root causes, because any girl who goes out with niggers obviously has some problems. These social service agencies are quick to say that they don't have a problem with niggers as a whole, it's just that the young ones are so violent, and landlords need to quit renting to them.
Oops, sorry, was the above shocking to you? The above paragraph is actually a summary of an article from an Israeli newspaper, with a few little strategic edits to disguise its origin. It's not a town in Mississippi. It's a town in Israel. And it's not African-Americans that they have a problem with. It's Arabs. The local rabbis in the town of Bnei Brak are circulating a petition calling for local landlords to quit renting to Arabs, because, of course, Arabs are just lazy and violent and have the sex drive of rabbits and are corrupting our good white Jewish girls (who are being counselled by local social service agencies because, of course, any good white Jewish girl who'd want to go out with one of those lazy and violent niggersArabs obviously has problems...).
You know the funny part? My paragraph substituting "Mississippi" may have been true 40 years ago, but nowdays Mississippi is far more racially tolerant than Israel. Progress. Slow progress, but progress.
Too bad other nations are going backwards at the same time. Maybe there's a law of conservation of bigotry that applies here. Less bigotry in country A means more bigotry in country B, and vice-versa. Hmm...
There is a difference. If you do not know the difference, then you need to go back to high school Civics class and read up on it.
In a representative democracy, the majority, other than a small number convicted of "high crimes and treason", vote for whom amongst the various candidates will rule them.
In a Jewish state, the minority who have been granted Israeli citizenship vote for who shall rule the Palestinian Arab majority on the West Bank and Gaza Strip that outnumbers them and that would vote out a Jewish state and vote in a multicultural democracy if allowed to do so.
See the difference?
"But," you cry, "the Palestinians have their own government!" Really? Creating a South Africa style "Bantu-stan" on the West Bank and Gaza Strip does not eliminate the reality that Israel rules them, that Israeli soldiers go into those areas at will, that Israel completely and entirely controls access to those areas via checkpoints, fences, and walls. A "nation" that lacks territorial integrity is a contradiction in terms. The West Bank and Gaza Strip are nothing more than territorial possessions of Israel, and the denial of Israeli citizenship to them is no different than the denial of South African citizenship to the Bantu and other blacks who were relegated to Bantu-stans there.
"But", you cry, "democracy in Israel would mean the end of the Jewish state."
Exactly. You can have democracy, or you can have a Jewish state. You cannot have both. Any system of government that allows only a minority of the population to vote for who rules the majority is not a democracy, and should not be confused with such.
Israel is a Jewish state, not a democracy. That is reality. Deal with it. Just quit lying and saying that Israel is "the only Middle Eastern democracy". It is not. That honor lies with Lebanon.
American guards arrived at the man's cell periodically over the next several days, shackled his hands and feet, blindfolded him and took him to a padded room for interrogation, the detainee said. After an hour or two, he was returned to his cell, fatigued but unable to sleep.
The fluorescent lights in his cell were never turned off, he said. At most hours, heavy metal or country music blared in the corridor. He said he was rousted at random times without explanation and made to stand in his cell. Even lying down, he said, he was kept from covering his face to block out the light, noise and cold. And when he was released after 97 days he was exhausted, depressed and scared.
The detainee was Donald Vance, a 29-year-old Navy veteran from Chicago who went to Iraq as a security contractor. He wound up as a whistle-blower, passing information to the FBI about suspicious activities at the Iraqi security firm where he worked, including what he said was possible illegal weapons trading.
But when American soldiers raided the company at his urging, Vance and another American who worked there were detained as suspects by the military, which was unaware that Vance was an informer, according to officials and military documents.
"Even Saddam Hussein had more legal counsel than I ever had," said Vance, who said he planned to sue the former defense secretary, Donald H. Rumsfeld, on grounds that his constitutional rights had been violated. "While we were detained, we wrote a letter to the camp commandant stating that the same democratic ideals we are trying to instill in the fledgling democratic country of Iraq, from simple due process to the Magna Carta, we are absolutely, positively refusing to follow ourselves."
Remember, boys and girls. The terrorists want to destroy our freedoms, so we must destroy our freedoms first, or the terrorists have won!
All I needed was some brake fluid. And some cat food. Is that too much to ask for?
Apparently, well, yes. Because it was nuts in there. Utterly insane. After ten minutes of waiting in line to check out my brake fluid and cat food, I finally said "this is bullshit", abandoned my cart, and walked out.
I got brake fluid at an auto parts store. I got cat food at the grocery store when I bought some people food. In neither place did I have to wait in line. I'm not going near any kind of store selling toys until after Christmas. This is just nuts, how so many people are waiting until the last moment to go shopping for junk to give other people that will just get thrown away...
- Badtux the "Flippers ain't good fer standin'" Penguin
Lucinda Williams - Austin City Limits Lucinda's tribute to Austin songwriter Blaze Foley, the "Duct Tape Messiah", an old drinking buddy of Townes van Zandt who was even crazier than Townes (and Townes was certified crazy, official diagnosis and all) who lived in dumpsters and passed out under pool tables and borrowed guitars to play gigs.
I'd post a link to my interpretation of Blaze's song "Cold Cold World", but I'm not sure of the legality of that so I won't.
Got a new capo. A Shubb. Simple, compact, accurate, doesn't get in the way (much). That's the way good engineering is supposed to look, not like some mad scientist's labaratory with springs and levers and crap. Immediately got the inspiration to compose a couple of songs (well, between the capo and getting some Townes van Zandt albums in the mail from amazon.com), and played'em through a couple of times. Didn't write them down before I forgot them though. Pity.
Got an oil pan skid plate in the mail Friday for the Jeep. The directions promise that you can work the driver's side "ear" between the oil pan and the exhaust pipe. Maybe on some Jeeps, but not on mine (there is no such thing as a "standard" exhaust pipe on a Jeep, those things are hand-made on the assembly line by gnomes with big tubing benders who tweak'em to fit). Looks like I'll have to take a die grinder to the ear and cut down the weld a bit to make the teensy amount of room needed to slide it into place. Bummer. Means I'll need to track down someone with a die grinder, since obviously, living in an apartment, I don't have one. While under there, I noticed that Daimler-Chrysler is continuing AMC's tradition of shipping their cars pre-rusted. Plenty of rust under there. Plenty of primitive (but very sturdy!) engineering on display too.
So Dear Leader is talking about sending more troops to Iraq? Armed with what weapons? Every single operational Humvee, Bradley, and M1 tank are currently in Iraq or Afghanistan, as is pretty much near every operational M-16. Everything else is broke down in repair shops from Kuwait to Texas. Hell, we have troubles providing enough fuel and ammo for the troops that are already there. What'er we gonna arm these new troops with -- AK-47's and RPG's? I got a suggestion. There's already a buncha folks armed with AK-47's and RPG's over there in Iraq, they don't need more, just let the current folks runnin' 'round with AK-47's and RPG's run the place instead of some new folks. Hear that, Georgie? (No, of course not, Georgie only hears what he wants to hear).
The cats (remember them?) are wandering around howling at me to feed them. They don't get fed until this evening. The Mighty Fang currently is at 16 pounds, Mencken is at 12 pounds. That's good weights for them. Means I'm feeding them the right amount of food every night before I go to bed. Fat cats are like fat kids. The cat don't feed itself, y'know? And the kid don't cook for for himself, y'know? So why is obesity amongst kids such an epidemic nowdays? Other than lazy, indulgent parents who give in to the yowling rather than making sure their kids eat right?
Anyhow, enough meanderings from this penguin, time to clean house a bit (this place is looking embarrasingly messy, with all these new open boxes all over)...
Aim for the nose...
Call it the Dick Cheney protection act. The Texas Legislature is talking about passing a law making it legal for blind people to hunt.
Hmm, somehow this doesn't sound like the best of ideas to this penguin... blind people shooting guns. Hmm. Of course, Texas during hunting season isn't a very safe place to begin with, what with all the gunfire and all the crazed deer with eyes rolling running all over the place chased by Elmer Fudd look-alikes firing their rifles and shotguns all over the place. Last time I was in Texas during deer season, I got me a deer all right... and a $800 bill from the body shop (luckily li'l Bambi went under the car, rather than over it). And my buddy's van got two bullet holes in it.
Welcome to Texas. Y'all don't come back now, y'hear?!
Life comes from God and returns to God. All life and all races follow God's ordinances. No people and no race can ignore them. We want the ... youth to again recognize the religious nature of life. They must realize that God wants the individual as well as the whole people, and that they lose contact with life when they lose contact with God! God and nation are the two foundations of the life of the individual and the community. We want no shallow and superficial piety, but rather a deep faith that God guides the world, that he controls it, and a consciousness of the relationship between God and each individual, and between God and the life of the people and the [nation].
The [Muslim] spiritual leaders of today, the [imans], have ensured that to this day the [Muslim] people is educated in this hatred which the God [Allah] ordained through [Mohammed] [at Mecca]. The [imans] have made this hatred the foundation of what the [Muslims] call their religion. The [Koran] ... page 715, includes this prayer that the [Muslims] in their [mosques] have used to call down the curse of their God [Allah] on [Christian] humanity:
"Bring the worst wars to the homes of the [Christians]. Infect then with smallpox and punish them in your anger and fury. . . . Destroy their kings through war and take revenge upon them. Drive their heads to the ground in your fury!"
Is this Joseph Farrah over at World Nut Daily describing how Muslims want to kill all non-Muslims?
How about this:
The cause of the world's misfortune, however, will be forever eliminated only when [non-Christians] in [their] entirety [are] destroyed.
So World Nut Daily (no linky, sorry!) sez gay-ness isn't anything to do with being born gay, it's 'cause we feed so much soy products to our kids and this femenizes them 'cause of all the estrogens in soy.
Guess that explains gay penguins. It's all the soy products they eat!
Err... oops, sorry. Penguins eat herring, not soy. Next!
Howdy, Bubba the Suthern Penguin here, with more tales from the big city of Cooterville, Tennessee. Now, my ole' cat-killin' buddy Bill Frist showed up at my doorstep the other day, and I was purty durn near overjoyed. Y'see, Darlene has been harpin' on me to get her some more money so she can buy more purty things and shoes and stuff for Christmas, and she was bein' right scarce under the bed sheets, if ya get my gist. Billy Boy is usually always good fer some dough, though I must admit findin' cats fer him ain't been easy the last couple of years, them cats is just plain gettin' scarce 'round these here parts and I done been run off from a couple of barns 'cause folks ain't wantin' their barnyard cats taken off fer Billy ta cut open. But that's just let me raise my price, y'know?
So anyhow, ole' cat killer Bill shows up at my doorstep, but huh... he ain't got that crazed look ta him anymore! And he ain't carryin' one of them thare doctor knife thingies and waving it around and hollerin' "cats! I need cats!" either. Hmm. So I open the door anyhows, and sez, "how many cats ya need, Bill?"
Then he says the worst words I ever done heard: "Cats? I don't need no cats, cause I done retard!" He goes on ta say that the stress was just a gettin' to him, bein caught out in that beltway thing, and even the magical ability to diagnose illnesses from photos that he'd inheretid from his witch grandma had disappeared, why, he'd diagnosed some poor brain-dead girl as havin' a hangnail even! So he was retard, and was gonna just hang 'round the Frist mansion fer a while and let himself get back on an evil keel and stuff, and oh, wanna go out fer some beers?
Well, there goes my plans ta get Darlene some more money fer Christmas. Now, frankly, my friends, Billy is a bit creepy even when he's feelin' jolly, so I figgered out how ta git rid of him then set down fer some serious thinkin'. Man, that thare "thinkin'" stuff is hard work, folks! After a while my head hurt so durn much that even though it was my day off, I went down to the garage where I done been werkin' as the fetchit boy fer the past twenty years fer minimum wage, and asked some of them smarter fixer folks down thare what I should do.
Now Bob, he's like this big ole' ex-Marine dude who is the second-oldest mechanic there, sez "well, y'know, you're purty good at fixin little things like lightbulbs and such, why don't you go on down to Main Street with our spare ladder and ask folks if they need lightbulbs changed fer spare change?" Now that was a plan, so I grabbed the ladder and headed out to get Darlene her bling bling money (hey, see, I can use that cool talk too! I'm pretty hip, I'm not all square, dig?).
At the grocery store I walk in with my ladder and asks to see the manager, and when he comes out, asks if he needs any light bulbs changed. There was some commotion behind me, I turned around ta see what it was but there wasn't nothin' there 'cept a bunch of ice coolers all scattered all over the floor, man that was sloppy house keepin' on the part of this grocery store, don't ya think? So anyhow I turn back around and that thare manager is just plain passed out on the floor in front of me! Got a big red gash on his head that was oozin' blood, and I'm thinkin', man, he art to see a doctor 'bout that. I say "Sir? Sir? Are you okay, sir?" and folks are rushin' over to him and anyhow it was just too crowded and it was obvious he wasn't hirin' me anytime soon so I turned around and left. Funny, the front winder of the store broke just as I was turnin' round, go figger!
So next shop I walk to is a sandwich shop, and I walk in with my ladder and asks, "do ya needs some light bulbs changed?" and that thare brown feller behind the counter sez "no sa!" so I turn arounds and leave. There's a bit of a ruckus behind me as I'm goin' out the door, I can't turn around in the door 'cause I'm carryin' the ladder so I go on out and look back in the shop and, why, everything that had been on the counter had somehow managed to fall on the floor and that thare brown feller was standin' there wringin' his hands and talkin' some things in that funny furriner lingo of his that didn't sound so polite, so I head on out.
So anyhow, next shop down the street is one of them thare fancy dishes shops. The manager meets me at the front door, and I asks him, "do ya have any light bulbs that needs fixin'?" and he says "Yes indeed! I have two near the back corner, I'll give you two bucks to change them for me." Two bucks! Man, Darlene would be so proud! So I says "Well, if you throw in the light bulbs, that's a deal, sir!" and he sez "Very good, sir!" and hussles down the aisle to the back of the store to get the bulbs.
So I walk on in and start walkin' towards the corner he'd pointed out, and heared a crash behind me. I looked back and, uh-oh, I'd managed to clip a corner of one of the counters with the end of my ladder and sent some fancy servin' bowl right down on the ground! Now, that thare thing looked expensive, but luckily I never go anywheres without some of that thare Super Glue in my pocket. So I turned around and went and started puttin' that thare servin' bowl back together, until I had it all purty much lookin' okay, I mean, yeah, it was a little lopsided, but would anybody really notice? Then I turned back around ta go set up my ladder to fix the lights, and noticed that I'd managed to clip another counter and shove a whole display of china to tha ground and it was, like, just shattered all over the place!
So anyhow, out came my Super Glue again, and I started fixin' it up, and then the li'l feller came back from the behind with his bulbs and stared at me gluin' them dishes back together and turned real pale and sez, "Get out. Get out now! Go!".
Now I tole him, "I ain't one of them thare cut and run fellers, I broke it, so I'm gonna fix it!" and he turned red and tole me "You moron! You just broke some more of my dishes when you knelt down to do a poor job of fixing these!"
"Wha?" I said, and I turned around, and there was a lot of smashing and crashing and broken glass tinklin' to the ground, and the lil dude shouted "Idiot! You can't fix things while you're thrashing around with a ladder! Get out! Get out! Now! Or I call the police and you go to jail!"
Now, 'bout this time I'm thinkin' maybe jail ain't so bad an idear. I mean, Darlene is going to be pissed. But the li'l dude is headin' fer his counter, and y'know, 'round these parts that means only one thing and I ain't keen on pickin' birdshot out of my buns agin, so I do skedaddle 'bout the time he manages to clear his scattergun over the counter and hey, all he got was a li'l bit of my left elbow, okay?
Now, this here plan don't seem ta be workin' out fer me, so I go on back to the garage with my ladder and tell the boys down there what done happened, and by the time they finished laughin', they was all on the ground blue in the face. Finally ole' Buck gets up and takes the ladder from me and puts it away, and sez "boy, you done made our day," and he turns around and takes up a collection and gives me a few dollars and sez "Here, you take this on down to Darlene and tell her Merry Christmas from the boys down at the garage." So I do.
And that is the story of me and the ladder and the china shop, and I guess the moral of the story is, if your breakin' somethin', the best thing to do is just to skedaddle so you ain't breakin' stuff no more, and let the feller whose stuff you broke fix it 'cause he knows better how to fix his stuff. Well, and it'd be nice to pay him fer the stuff ya broke, and I'm kinda 'shamed that I didn't stick around ta do that, but Darlene did need her bling, y'know?
Listen, if you start listening to actual Iraqis, you might as well hang it up right now. Because poll after poll shows that actual Iraqis overwhelmingly favor a single option for the U.S. military forces in their country: cut and run, the sooner the better. That's what they want; but of course, they're just like children, aren't they, the precious little primitive critters. And everybody knows you can't give children everything they want. It's not good for them. So we have to hold the Iraqis' hands until they can toddle on their own -- and we have to slap their hands if they don't do what we know is best for them.
The whole notion that we here in the United States can somehow "fix" Iraq is one born inherently of racism. Those ingrateful little brown children over in Iraq are just too dumb and too stupid to figure out a way to keep their country together without the Great White Father to tell them what to do. Why, we removed Saddam for them. Nevermind that events afterwards show that they could have removed Saddam themselves at any time if they'd so desired, it seems that every single one of them has an AK-47 and a RPG launcher and knows how to use it, but they didn't so desire because apparently they hadn't figured out how to replace him yet, but ooooh, we knew better 'cause, we're, like, WHITE, and they're, like, BROWN, so there! They just need to buck up and take their medicine!
This notion that Big Brother Knows Best does not apply solely to darkies overseas, of course. It applies to any Americans (or anybody, actually) who don't agree with the notion that Big Brother knows best also. For example, the organizers of a folk festival in New York State were approached by the State Police, who wished to examine the grounds for evidence of illegal activity. The organizers politely requested that the State Police get a search warrant or buy a ticket if they wished to enter the premesis. Here is what happened next:
If you would, gentlemen, here is a Canadian's perspective: Over the last 20 years, I have enjoyed coming down to the US to see folk festivals, and have always enjoyed myself, but stopped for some years after 911 for reasons not related to that trajedy. In 2005 I did so again, catching an event in NY state, and camping out at the state park, a favourite spot from my youth. I had not only reserved a site in advance, but had already set up my tent & accessories, having registered. Upon my return from the festival quite late, all of the cars returning were stopped by the NY state police, who were apparently upset that the organizers of said event had not allowed them on the property during it. Unfortunately, the teenaged camp clerk had neglected to add my 18 year old nephew to my camping list, although I did pay for him. So, on a warm July night, my forty year old self, my arthritic wife, my nephew and his girlfiend were removed from our vehicle, our belongings searched, made to provide ID, and yelled and cursed at by black leather uniformed, crew cut 20 somethings who, after making us wait an hour, grudgingly allowed us into our digs for the night. I was informed by said officers that "this is how things are done now" and "welcome to the US". I will not be coming back to your country, and my experience speaks for itself concerning your topic.
There is a name for this kind of thing. Look it up someday. Hint: Starts with an "f". 'Nuff said.
The thing that gets me about the whole thing is that we shoulda learned from the "use 'em up and toss 'em out" mindset of Vietnam. A lotta guys brought that war home and it took years for them to get the help they needed. Not just the guys with PTSD but the whole Agent Orange fiasco. We're doing that all over again too with the depleted uranium ammunition, fucking up a generation of youngsters with poisonous shit.
They all can come out to wave the flag when they send you off to war (far be it any of them go along). When you come back fucked up, they don't want to know you.
The Repukes ain't spittin' on our soldiers like liberals supposedly did after Vietnam (albeit said stories are completely apocrophical,backed up by no contemporary accounts of said event happening), but they might as well be.
I am not a Christian. I am a Tuxologist. As in, a worshipper of the Great Penguin who created the Earth and penguins and lesser animals, participant in the Sacrament of the Herring, and so forth. And furthermore, like most penguins, I'm both black AND white. So when I talk about "good god-fearin' Christian white Americans", well, get your sarcasm meter adjusted if you think I'm talking about myself... I'm a penguin-American, not a meat-and-potatos American!
We're losing. And my groaning mail server agrees whole-heartedly.
My solution is simple: The death penalty for spammers. Each spammer who is caught should be forced to stand in a pit that is twenty feet deep and twenty feet wide, then buried in a pile of his own printed spams until dead.
Usually, it's a missing dumb blond white girl that sets off all sorts of media storms. Now, it's a missing dumb ChineseKorean man who's got the media all abuzz and search parties frantically searching to save him from his stupidity (taking a turn into the mountains? In the snow? Without tire chains? Then leaving your vehicle? Too bad he already reproduced, or we could nominate him for a Darwin Award once we find his frozen body in a few days).
Now, if this isn't a sign that racial relations are easing in the United States, I don't know what is. They're pulling out all the stops for one of them furrin darkies! Of course, Asians are the "good" minority -- quiet, hard working, not uppity like those pesky Negros who keep insisting on equal rights and such -- so maybe we still have a long ways to go. Somehow I don't see a missing black man getting this kind of attention, for example, unless he is a deathrow prisoner at San Quentin or something. But hey, we'll take what we can get, huh?
-- Badtux the (somewhat) hopeful Penguin
Postscript: His body was found. The Darwin Awards committee has been notified, though the fact that he already reproduced may disqualify him from that prestigious honor. Meanwhile, Shelton Sanders' body has never been found. But hey, at least we're getting closer to the day when somebody might get interested in the case of a missing black man...
Yet another moonbeam. NASA announces plan to put a man on the moon by 2020, 16 years from now. And, predictably, the real batty moon people over at Free Republic just love it. (Sorry, no linkity link, I don't link to demented neo-nazi ravings).
Now, some of you might wonder, hey, didn't it take only six years the first time between JFK announcing the moon program, and Neil Armstrong bouncing around on the Moon? But see, that was when we had actual rockets. Nowdays only the Russians have rockets, which is why they're the ones keeping the Space Station up in the sky.
And that, my friends, explains why it is going to take 16 years to get back to the moon: the astronauts are going to have to walk. And it's a LOOOONG walk...
This is my first modification to my Jeep. This is the restrictor that was in the factory fog lamps to prevent putting out more light than USDOT allows for fog lights in America (because USDOT thinks Americans have better eyes than the Europeans, apparently -- the fog lights were made by Hella in Europe and are sold without the restrictors there). The fog lights are still fog lights even without the restrictors -- the light pattern is low and broad, when I shine them on a wall they hit the wall about six inches above the ground -- but now they put out more light on the ground rather than being dim as fireflies.
Jeeps are sort of like my KLR motorcycle (the one I added the cruise control to!) in that they're made to be modified. This is a slippery slope, of course. An endless money pit. A perfect example of American consumerism in action. And this trip to the poor house all starts with popping the fog lights open and removing a stupid little piece of metal. Sigh...
So I'm reading this right-winger's ranting, and he starts whanging on about "San Francisco hippies". Sheesh. What a moran. There aren't any hippies in San Francisco -- it's gotten too expensive to live there. What there are in San Francisco are a different breed entirely: the YUPPIE. This SUV-driving breed has entirely displaced the former hippie class.
And they're BREEDING, as you'd find out if you tried walking down a sidewalk in the Marina District and got caught in the traffic jam... of SUV-sized baby strollers, each costing more than a typical small car, hauling the precious progeny and enough educational toys, diapers, cleaning supplies, baby foods (fully natural from Whole Foods of course) etc. to supply a small city. Each one of these ginormous baby SUV's is pushed by a smug insufferable latte-sippin' six-figured-salary yuppie secure in their sense of unwarranted entitlement and astounded if you don't actually get out of the way of their ginormous baby SUV because you feel you have just as much of a right to walk on the sidewalk as they do...
Any hippies in San Francisco are day tripping there from Oakland (where there are still some decrepit industrial facilities to squat in)... San Fran is totally Disney-fied nowdays. And right-wingers who still rant about San Francisco "hippies" are just showing how ignorant they really are. Not that we really needed any reminder of that!
-- Badtux the "Sometimes I visit San Francisco" Penguin
Utterly impractical. The bottom of the door frame hits me at mid-thigh. The insides has plenty of bare metal, some around the passenger footwell sharp enough to chew up your shoes. While it rides better than the bucking-bronco short wheelbase Wrangler, it's still definitely a truck ride, not a car ride. But it has 30" tires and 10" of ground clearance and says 'Jeep' on the side. I am but a mindless consumerist sheeple buying things I don't need :-(.
One thing that occurred to me, as I drove around Death Valley, is just how much fun it would have been in a Jeep. Less adventure, certainly. But I'd have been able to haul a laptop with me rather than rely on a teensy little PDA, I'd have been able to haul more emergency supplies with me in case I got stranded somehow, I'd have been able to charge up my camera batteries from the cigarette lighter as I drove around, I'd have real headlights and real windshield wipers for when the weather turned nasty, and I'd have been able to stop in various places without worrying about falling over because Jeeps have four wheels (duh!). And while a motorcycle will go places that a Jeep can't go, those motorcycles are ones that aren't loaded down like the Beverly Hillbillies' truck, I frankly would not take my fully-loaded KLR anywhere that a Jeep can't go, because it's just too darned heavy and too much work.
I looked at Craigslist and there are lots of Jeep XJ's (Cherokees) for sale for reasonable price. Add 30" tires to the little beasty and it's pretty good at getting into difficult places.
But then someone mentioned the 2006 Jeep Wranger Unlimited. Dimension-wise, it's similar to the Cherokee, but has better off-road capabilities out of the box than the old Cherokee did mod'ed with 30" tires and a mild lift. And it's more comfortable and more practical than the regular Jeep TJ short-wheelbase model.
A quick inventory search on jeep.com's site shows that Normandin Chrysler Jeep here in San Jose CA has a couple of nicely appointed silver 2006 Jeep Wrangler Unlimiteds with the 6-speed manual transmissions and some nice amenities (like the hardtop, much more pleasant for commuting in nasty weather!). I also find out that Chrysler is offering 0% financing on these 2006 leftovers. I check myfico.com to get my FICO score, and it looks like I'd qualify handily for the 0% financing.
But dammit, I don't need a new car! Grr...
Okay, here's the deal I'm making with myself:
I go in. I check out whether they still have those two silver Jeep Unlimiteds. If so, I take a test drive. Then I say okay, I'll take it if: you give me invoice price on the Jeep, you give me Blue Book tradein value on my S-10 as tradein, and you give me the 0% financing. Otherwise it's no deal.
Then they either take it, or not. If they don't, I save money. If they do, I get a good deal.
At least, that's what I tell myself.
Hopefully they won't accept my offer, and sanity will return to the penguin's iceberg :-).
Once again, a heavily-armed gang dressed in paramilitary regalia has broken into an innocent citizen's home and shot her dead. One of the things I missed last week while on my annual migration was the death of Kathryn Johnston in Atlanta, who managed to injure three of her paramilitary attackers before being herself shot dead.
Of course, the masked paramilitary gangsters turned out to be Atlanta police officers, so they will, of course, walk away, even though it turns out they asked an informant to lie on their behalf.
Some people ask me if I'm anti-police. I have to say, I'm not seeing anything that the police in America do today that would not be done just as well by issuing a .38 caliber revolver to each and every adult American along with a choice of holsters to carry it concealed or non-concealed (whoa, how Libertarian of me!). Muggings? All the cops do is take reports, they don't do anything about it. Burglaries? All the cops do is take reports, they don't do anything about it. Accidents? All the cops do is take reports after the accident is over, they can't prevent it. Frankly, I am in far more danger from the police than I am from anybody they're supposedly "protecting" me and my shotgun from. When it comes to the current role of the cops in the community -- i.e., to arrive after all the fireworks are over and take reports for the use of the insurance companies -- might as well just have insurance company investigators take the reports directly and eliminate the middle-man.
The .38 would be cheaper too -- we currently spend over $40 billion dollars *PER YEAR* on the 'War on Drugs' alone. Two year's worth of that would buy a good-quality .38 and box of bullets for each and every adult American, not that we'd need to do that since many Americans already own their own weapons. And that's just a small fraction of the law enforcement budget in America...
Of course, there's one big Achilles heel here, and one which I'll address in a seperate post. I'll just ask you the one pressing question that nobody, NOBODY ever asks except a few of us loony toons Libertarians: Why do we need cops anyhow, given that they seem to be as dangerous to innocents as they are to criminals?
Other than, that is, to fight an ongoing "war on everything pleasurable" (of which the War on Drugs is a small part) on behalf of the small percentage of religious zealots who would love to impose a theocratic dictatorship over us but, lacking the power to do so, instead satisfy themselves with trying to make everybody else as miserable as they are?
This is especially true of the FBI and other federal law enforcement agencies. The United States existed just fine for the half of its existence that there were no federal law enforcement agencies. We have hundreds of thousands of armed local cops who serve just fine at enforcing local laws regarding murder and whatfor. FBI, ATF, DEA, whatever -- why do we need them, other than to enforce the theocratic agenda of making pleasure illegal?!
More to follow, after I finish cursing SOB chickenhawks and get my breath back...
"Keep fighting for freedom and justice, beloveds, but don't forget to have fun doin' it. Lord, let your laughter ring forth. Be outrageous, ridicule the fraidy-cats, rejoice in all the oddities that freedom can produce."
-- Molly Ivins, 1944-2007
"The penalty good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men."
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